Today marks the 50th Anniversary of the death of Princess Alice of Greece, the fascinating mother of the Duke of Edinburgh, who was born a Battenberg Princess before marrying Prince Andrew of Greece. To mark the Anniversary, we are featuring her last surviving jewel, the Meander Tiara now belonging to Princess Anne, which is one of my own personal favourite designs.
Featuring diamonds in a Greek key design, with a central laurel wreath and a large diamond, and two diamond honeysuckles, the Meander Tiara was probably made by Cartier, and while it is unknown how it was acquired, the Tiara was earliest worn for a series of portraits in 1914, a year after the death of her father-in-law, King George I of Greece, when Prince Andrew would have received an inheritance.
The Meander Tiara remained with Princess Andrew through the Greek Royal Families frequent exiles, remaining in a Bank Vault in London during the period she was incarcerated at at asylum in Switzerland, though it was probably worn after her return to Greece in the late 1930s, before being sent back to London.
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After her Aquamarine Tiara (a wedding gift from her uncle, the Tsar) was dismantled to create the Engagement Ring and Wedding Bracelet, Princess Andrew gave her Meander Tiara to her daughter-in-law, the current Queen Elizabeth II, who was never publicly pictured wearing the piece. In the late 1960s, around the time Princess Alice came to live with the British Royal Family at Buckingham Palace, the Meander Tiara was given to Princess Anne, who wore the piece for many of her initial tiara appearances and in latter years.
In 2011, Princess Anne loaned Princess Andrew’s Meander Tiara to her only daughter Zara Phillips, for her wedding to Mike Tindall in Edinburgh. The Princess Royal continues to wear the Meander Tiara, most recently at the Dutch State Banquet last year, and there is no doubt we will continue to see it for years to come.